Exclusive: Cleveland concertmaster resigns one post

Exclusive: Cleveland concertmaster resigns one post


norman lebrecht

July 29, 2018

Paul Hogle, president of the Cleveland Institute of Music, has circulated an internal message announcing the departure of William Preucil, following #MeToo allegations in the Washington Post. Hogle writes:

Bill Preucil informed me today that he is tendering his resignation from the faculty of CIM, effective immediately…. Dean Bundra and I realise that this creates a period of uncertainty for Bill’s students and the Dean’s office is already working with each student to discuss the options available to them (sic).

The CIM website continues to feature Preucil from its faculty page.

He has already been suspended from his post as concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra.


  • william osborne says:

    As reported in Clevelandscene.com, in 2007 there was an incident with a student that cost the school a great deal of money. I do not know if the information is correct, but I have been told that Preucil had been working at CIM for free since that time in order to pay the school back. Again, I do not know if that information is true, but it might be something for researchers to inquire about.

    Clevelandscene reported that as part of the 2007 settlement, CIM paid the student’s tuition to go to another school. I’ve been told that the school was the New England Conservatory. But here again, that information would need to be corroborated. It might not be factual. And it is *absolutely* essential that the student’s identity be protected.

    I notice common characteristics in the Levine, Pruecil, and von Bose cases (the latter at the University of Music in Munich, Germany.) One is that they were all highly promoted at a young age. They seem to have developed a sense of power over people before they had the maturity to use it properly, and this became a pattern they carried through to their adult lives. I think these and similar cases should be the subject of careful study to understand how they evolve, how to better nurture gifted young artists, and how to develop administrative practices that properly deal with and control the problems than all too many gifted people have.

    Speaking in general terms, when left improperly handled, these problems can create a wake of destruction that can go on for years. And in the end, they also lead to the self-destruction of the perpetrator. It’s important that we better understand these phenomena and learn how to remedy them.

    • william osborne says:

      It’s interesting that Mozart’s Don Giovanni is literally a musical and theatrical examination of this problem of talent, privilege, and abuse. It’s as if Mozart, the very paradigm of gifted youth, held a mirror up to his own world and the presumed entitlements of talent and authority, and the harm those falsely understood gifts can cause. Giovani deals with basic human issues that will always be with us, and that we are still struggling to understand. Addressing these problems is not just a feminist project. Respecting the dignity of women is an evolutionary part of civilization itself, hence the universality of one of Mozart’s most profound works.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Entirely agreed.

      • barry guerrero says:

        Great insights, William.

      • Tamino says:

        Well, well well, men are idiots. But the ‘dignity of women’, tell women about it. 😉
        The only dignity that matters is the dignity of humanity, to hold oneself accountable to the categorical imperative, as Kant defined it.

        Asking to respect a particular ‘dignity of women’ is just revers sexism. Defining women as some weak species again, that needs our male protection and well meaning.

        • william osborne says:

          That is plainly ridiculous. All over the world women are treated unequally. We must all work together to solve this problem.

          • Tamino says:

            Many people are treated unequally. Not only women.
            What I‘m saying is to overcome a negative dichotomy, a vicious dialectic circle, one does not need to support the antagonist. One must support the higher meaning, to break the circle.
            Not women need our support.
            Human condition needs our support. That automatically includes women, wherever they are treated unfairly. But do you understand the difference?

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Huh…in Mozart’s day the musicians were the hired help, only slightly up on any other worker an aristocrat would hire. It only began to change when Mozart was an adult.

    • anon says:

      Child prodigies tend to be emotionally stunted and developmentally late in terms of socialization, i.e., they never grew up with their age group, but because of their precociousness, grow up with adults before they’re prepared to be adults, take on adult roles without knowing how to behave as an adult.

      I can totally see Levine at 25 behaving like a horny 17 with his 17 year old charges, not knowing the proper boundaries that someone in his position usually would know because they would normally be 35 years old.

      • william osborne says:

        A good summation. CIM had to know about the abuse of the “Levinites” in the early 70s, but did nothing. They paid large sums to settle the Pruecil incident in 2007, and yet kept him on the faculty. Many music schools would have likely acted in a similar manner.

        Why do we see schools only addressing the issues after they become a big public scandal? Why do schools say they have a zero tolerance policy for sexual abuse when they don’t? How are the forms of abuse defined, and what are the appropriate sanctions for each category? Have conservatories suffered more from these problems because they are to a considerable degree administratively isolated and lack oversight from larger university environments? What are the best administrative practices for dealing with abusers and gifted people who have a distorted sense of entitlement?

        • Xm says:

          Many musicians from Cleveland also moved elsewhere, and likely took the Levine culture with them. I can think of two retirement aged violinists in the Chicago Symphony that were originally from Cleveland. The point is that it is not just about one city or orchestra. People move and/or travel taking their cultural norms and behaviors with them. Everything people do matters. No person is too small to abuse, not any one person too powerful to inflict the abuse. These problems are global, and the music world is very small. One burned bridge, which can happen with or after harassment, can limit career chances in many places. I wish advertising was less about the sex appeal of artists. That might be a small step towards valuing women more as people.

          • william osborne says:

            Absolutely. This is not just about the Cleveland Orchestra or CIM. These problems are widespread.

        • David J Gill says:

          Those at CIM who knew the Levine story first hand likely retired long ago.

          • william osborne says:

            Which illustrates how long the neglect of these problems has existed. And remember, CIM should not be singled out. These problems are widespread.

      • Sue says:

        And the privacy of the music room, one on one (as it were), lends itself to abuse. In teaching one cannot be alone in a room with a student in any school with the door closed. And you might be interested to learn that there are women serving time in jail for sexual abuse of school students. Let it not be thought exclusively male behaviour, if you please. I would have thought Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth might have alerted some people about what women are capable of doing.

        • william osborne says:

          “In teaching one cannot be alone in a room with a student in any school with the door closed.” Absolute nonsense. In music schools the doors are always shut. Otherwise the cacophonous sound of everyone playing would render the work environment impossible.

          One of the solutions that is evolving is that the doors for the rooms in newly built music buildings all have large windows which the teachers are not allowed to cover. Helps keeps everything safe and professional.

          • Jack says:

            Not nonsense if you’re a music teacher in a grade school teaching a kid in a remote part of the school. I used to have that situation but would never teach children without at least a window and in an area available to public view.

          • Bruce says:

            Doors with little windows in them are an option. Some places have them, along with a policy of “do not cover the window.”

    • william osborne says:

      Judging from the Washington Post article, nothing was reported unless there were at least three victims willing to go on record about an abuser. I thus suspect that there were many incidents reported to the Washington Post that it did not include because two or more corroborating victims did not come forward or would not go on record. The result is that the article was probably lawyered in half, and that only a small fraction of the people who responded to Midgette’s social media calls for reports from victims were included.

      I’ve also noticed that arts organizations usually don’t act unless there are multiple victims, and even then, only when there are big headlines that force their hand. The result is that women can experience egregious abuse, but can’t say anything unless there are at least two other victims willing to go on record. This means that a huge amount of abuse will continue to go unreported. We should suffer no illusions, Fear and abuse still rule.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        WO writes: “usually don’t act unless there are multiple victims”

        If there is only one case, with no evidence and nothing to corroborate it, how would anyone know whether the allegation is true or not. We can’t assume guilt merely because someone was accused. Especially when the consequences are serious for the person who has been accused.

        If there are a large number of independent accusations, then we might have more confidence that there is some truth in them.

  • The Willies says:

    I wonder what William Osborne thinks about this?

    • Eleanor says:

      Who cares?

      • The View from America says:

        Quite a few people, actually.

        Can’t wait for YoYoMama to weigh in as well. Let’s hear it for sexist gay people!

    • anon says:

      I wonder what Sue, the resident dinosaur, thinks. Sue?

      • Jasper says:

        Sue wherever you are, you are appreciated.

      • Sue says:

        The dinosaur thinks we need to take personal responsibility for our choices. A radical idea, I know, in the age of an endless diet of rights.

        • V.Lind says:

          Where’s the choice in attempted rape? Or are you saying that the decision to enter a room with a man you have recently been engaged in earnest professional conversation with, after a teaching session, is automatically a permission to engage in sex? You must have lived in a weird world.

    • william osborne says:

      The snide remark actually touches on one of the major problems. Our elite arts institutions have long behaved as if they are above the social mores and concerns of common citizens. It is exactly in this rarefied atmosphere of elitism and entitlement that abuse evolved. This “isolation on high” is exacerbated by our plutocratic system of arts funding, and by the collapse of the urban environments that surround orchestras (a situation created in large part by a racial class system.) Civic-minded people in the classical music world are thus defined as meddlesome proles (among all the other descriptions seen on SD.) Top orchestras and their patrons congregate on the high end of the sinking Titanic and pretend nothing is happening until big headlines and few deck chairs hit them in the face.

      • Eleanor says:

        good grief

      • Phillip says:

        The needle on your insufferable-o-meter broke off. Off the charts.

      • adista says:

        William, it’s not nearly that complicated. It’s actually really simple: no one cares about your endless prattle.

      • Derek says:


        You have taken the bait. I guess that the comment is just meant to be mischievous.

        You will be aware that it is said “a prophet is not accepted in his own land”.

      • Sharon says:

        I have not doubt that social and economic class elitism has a lot to do with it but I believe that there is a general attitude that artists of all types are expected to be eccentric and hyper sexual.

        Actually, many, many people, not only artists, define immoral as only that which they cannot get away with. As a graduate student in public finance I learned about tax evasion. However, when I started in child support enforcement I was just stunned by the extent of the underground (undeclared income for tax purposes) economy. I believe that it is at least as large as the “over the table” legitimate economy. It seems that virtually everyone who can get away without paying taxes and not declaring their income does, including our president.

        Me Too? It is also rife among lower paid workers, especially in fields where men tend to be supervisors over women such as waitresses and farm workers, who do not dare say anything for fear of losing their jobs. It was only when it hit the media because media personalities became involved did it become an issue

        • william osborne says:

          Interesting thoughts. The general impulse to do wrong if one can get away with it knows no class, but I think there might be categorical psychological differences between tax evasion and sexual abuse. One is opportunistic financial cheating, the other involves the sadistic impulses of human objectification. I think the path to objectifying others is more open to the elite than for average people.

          • william osborne says:

            Actually, I think you’re right. Even working class jobs have hierarchies that are abusively exploited. Maybe its the same through all levels of society.

  • Ann Roggen says:

    He did something outrageously wrong.
    The school paid to make it go away.
    He didn’t lose his job then.
    And here it is, 2018, and the climate has changed quite a bit.
    I prefer it now.

  • Shrim Nepoldi says:

    Sad to see him go. Great violinist and teacher.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    W.O. said…

    ” …but I have been told that Preucil had been working at CIM for free since that time in order to pay the school back…”

    I presume Preucil was regarded highly as a teacher but I wonder if prospective students would have been eager to hitch their wagon to a teacher who, somewhere inside, viewed the lesson-giving as part of a penalty.

    “…as part of the 2007 settlement, CIM paid the student’s tuition to go to another school. I’ve been told that the school was the New England Conservatory. ”

    If true, that must have been some impossible-to-deny assault.

    I wonder if the top tier schools might soon need a reciprocity agreement so they can trade various assaulted students to each other.

    • V.Lind says:

      There does not seem to me to be a different mentality here than existed in transferring abusive priests to another parish — without warning the new parish why.

    • carlos2bass says:

      Didn,t NEC had a very similar problem with a another violín teacher called James from the midwest a few years ago…Maybe these schools already have exchange agreements for such cases.

  • Anon says:

    This guy is nothing in the bigger scheme of things. Endre Granat: “Come to my house for violin lesson….leave your violin at home” …..his wife was …….______ in 1975. He arranged it.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    How many students would he have had?

    Would they all be graduate students?

  • cello player says:

    The 2007 incident was captured on video as the student had a video recorder in her violin case. Why did Mr Cerone leave cim?

  • Vaquero357 says:

    **ALL** of this is speculation. We have *no* idea what actually transpired between Preucil and the woman in question or what happened or did not happen with a student at CIM. Nobody’s presenting solid objective evidence.

    And there’s no way for the accused to “prove a negative”-that the alleged acts did not happen.

    The institutions are in full CYA mode, so of course, Preucil goes under the bus.

    Rumors, rumors, gossip, innuendo “everybody in the biz knows….” Well, if you can’t prove it under the standards of a court of law…..it’s just hearsay.

    • Robert Holmén says:

      We do have **some** idea because other women have come forward to explain in detail what happened to **them**.

      Witness/victim testimony would be admissible evidence in court.

    • Jack says:

      Seems that in your world that without photographic or video proof, or maybe multiple witnesses in the same room at the time of the act, nothing at all can ever be proven. Your ignorance is breathtaking.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Vaquero writes: “if you can’t prove it under the standards of a court of law…”

      You seem to have trouble understanding the difference between a criminal case (beyond all reasonable doubt), and the evidence needed for an internal disciplinary hearing. The CIM just needs to show a reasonable person could believe he has behaved inappropriately, and that his inappropriate behaviour matters for his job.

  • Doug says:

    The customary pissing match on this blog over this issue is tedious. The United States as a result of the “long march through the institutions” is no longer a nation of laws with a Constitution. Thank your unfriendly rabid leftist, before he blindsides you with a left hook, passive-aggressive coward that he is.

    All I can say is, these overpaid sociopaths like Preucil deserve every kick they’re getting in their pants.

  • Doug says:

    Here’s another relevant observation for you loyal leftist sheep to chew on with your daily Marxist cud:

    “The torpedoes the Democrats have put in the water for Trump have only circled back on them.” -Richard Fernandez

    • David J Gill says:

      We know you HATE “leftists” and Democrats and enjoy insulting people you disagree with, but we wonder why. The accusations you make certainly don’t describe the views of Americans who vote for Democrats, they seem to the sort of things conservatives come up with to justify hatred.

      And what does this have to do with classical music anyway?

    • jaypee says:

      Don’t you have p**sies to grab? Or handicap people to make fun of?

  • Peter Alexander says:

    I once taught a class that Bill Preucil was in, at Indiana University, although I had relatively little contact with hm. (He spent all his time in the practice room, not in class.) Later I got to know his parents quite well, and I know that they are both very decent and kind people, and utterly dedicated teachers. But it is true that Bill grew up in a highly focused environment, and that he was extremely driven when in college. Over the years I have heard many, many second-hand accounts of his misbehavior, and there are other allegations not touched on here that suggest he thought he was above normal standards or consequences. I heard this often enough, from enough different sources, that just as with James Levine, I came to believe the allegations were true. Of course, no specific names were ever attached, and just as with Levine, no one was willing to come forward publicly because of the fear of being disbelieved.

    I know several women who have been similarly abused, and the stories they tell are always the same: I was afraid to tell anyone because the person involved was so respected and powerful; it made my life miserable for many years; and in one case, I could not enjoy music for a long time, until I decided I would not give this person the power to take away something that I love. These are human tragedies, lives devastated, and should never be made light of.

    • ViolaPower says:

      Alan Deveritch from Indiana University’s school of music was recently dismissed due to his alleged sexual misconduct with one of his students. The school had apparently known about it for a while and only dismissed him when a student sued them.

  • Proponente says:

    Why is it in this whole metoo saga that Daniele Gatti seems untouchable, despite so much knowledge amongst musicians about his behaviour?

    • Suzy says:

      Probably he is still too young and in the prima of his career …too much interest in keeping him going …have you noticed ? Levine, Dutoit, Huzan,Preucil, Weinstein etc …all people at the final
      Curve of their careers…none of the under 60 are touchable…weird no?

    • Anon says:

      The reactions thus far showed that people don’t care about Gatti, at all. People have simply tuned him out of their consciousness. For this reason alone Concertgebouw should think twice before renewing his contract.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Weren’t both Gatti and Dutoit at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra? I really hope that the RPO didn’t make any moral compromises in employing them.

  • operatravellerfan says:

    How come no one talks about Daniele
    Gatti ? no one outraged by the fact that he is on that article as well as the violinist from celvrland and Huzan and his Orchestra , the concertgebouw, has said or don’t nothing ? He apologized , therefore somewhat admitted he did something, yet no one talks about him …no consequences, no outrage….he will be conducting and working in great institutions like Bayreuth , concertgebouw and Rome Opéra to name a few ….and probably go on sticking his tongue down singers throats or touching their rear ends and it’s all ok ???? Just wondering ….

    • Anon says:

      Because he is so boring and anonymous as a musical personality with next to nothing to say through music that even his scandals do not interest people. Do you hear or read people having interesting discussions about him, ever?

      I agree with you the institutions he work with should investigate the allegations.

    • Bruce says:

      In a statement sent to the media, Gatti said, “To all the women I have met in my entire life, especially those who believe I did not treat them with the utmost respect and dignity they certainly deserve, I sincerely apologize from the bottom of my heart.”

      He added, “Today and moving forward, I plan to focus much more on my behaviors and actions with all women. This includes women both young and old, to be sure no woman ever feels uncomfortable ever again, especially women that I work with in my profession in classical music. I am truly sorry.”

      (This was after his statement that he thought all such interactions with women had been fully consensual)

      If any person or organization wants to press charges against him, or cancel his appearances, they can. I’m sure there is fine print in all artist contracts allowing the orchestra to cancel their invitation at any time, the same way artists can cancel due to illness (even if “illness” means “an invitation to perform at La Scala”).

      In the meantime, is it better to accept the apology (not in the sense of “now everything’s OK” but in the sense of “well he has apologized”) of someone who at least acknowledges that he may have done the things he’s accused of, even if unintentionally; or is it better to continue defending someone who is accused of worse conduct by more people, but continues to deny it and will probably continue to deny it for the rest of his life?

      • Conducting Feminista says:

        Daniele Gatti’s fall from grace is a clear sign that women are completely taking over the conducting profession over men. This is the natural order of the world as God intended. God intend for women to conduct the great orchestras of the world and conduct the music of God. Women have a much better connection to God because GOD IS A WOMAN. God created women with her light and essence while demons created men from their poop and pee.

  • her royal snarkiness says:

    Apologies to Bacharach and David,
    no apologies to anyone who misunderstands the therapeutic value of of parody:

    Hey, little girl,
    with the bow and the fiddle,
    soon he will come through the door.
    don’t think because
    you can play Sarasate,
    he isn’t eager to score. . .

  • MarieTherese says:

    CIM has more abusers in their faculty who need to go. They and Case Western have been covering for a few of them for years- one was hired as a department chair (and as a principal chair in the Cleveland Orchestra) AFTER he had been dismissed from a lesser school for molesting a student! He also teaches in the prep department so has access to even younger students. Parents are so eager to push their kids to the “top” that, even forewarned about the proclivities of certain teachers, they send their kids off like lambs to the slaughter so that they can brag about the fact that their kid is such- and such a studio, while ignoring the danger in which they’ve placed a youngster.
    Girls report stalkers or assaults by fellow students and nothing is acted upon and the problems escalate to the point where, often the girl is forced to drop out of school, while her abused remains.

    This problem is rife in conservatories and schools of music and drama and it must be stopped. Now is the time.

    • Derek says:

      That is appalling! Why isn’t anyone reporting this to the law enforcement authorities?

      Surely, the climate now means that complaints will be taken seriously.

      If there are a number of abusers then there are many victims and they should provide their accounts and evidence. A high number of cases cannot be ignored.

  • Conducting Feminista says:

    We are living in the age where women are taking over the world and men are in decline. This is the natural order of the world as God intended. God is correcting the error and folly of man with the rise of woman because God is a woman. God created women first. Women are the essence of God while men are created from the excrement and wastes of demons and devils.